Wild games, identical stats make Jackets-Pens good TV
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets head back to Pittsburgh for Saturday night’s Game Five with plenty at stake and nothing between them.
The series is tied, 2-2. Many of the other numbers are mostly identical, too.
The Penguins still have to be kicking themselves for allowing an equalizer with 22.5 seconds left in Game Four after goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury left the net but couldn’t handle a bouncing puck behind it. The Penguins had led, 3-0, in the first period.
That’s been the nature of the series. All four games have been decided by a final score of 4-3. In each game, the winning team has rallied from 3-1 down.
Just over a week in and with only one Stanley Cup Playoffs series already decided, there have already been eight multiple-goal comeback wins, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. That ties a first-round record and already equals the total from all of the 2013 playoffs. Half of those have come in this Pittsburgh-Columbus series.
Obviously, the total goal tally from the series is 14-14. Elias also reported that the Blue Jackets on Wednesday night became the first team since the first round in 2012 to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a postseason game.
Fleury has saved 131-of-145 shots for a 90.3 percent success rate. On the other side, Sergei Bobrovsky of the Blue Jackets has stopped 126 of 140 for a 90 percent success rate.
Penguins defenseman Paul Martin is the playoffs’ top point scorer with 8, all on assists. Brandon Dubinsky leads the Blue Jackets with 6 points; two other Blue Jackets (Jack Johnson and Ryan Johansen) and Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen also have five.
The Penguins got their three goals in Game Four in three different ways — at even strength, shorthanded and on the power play. Pittsburgh’s power-play unit was the NHL’s best in the regular season and has been a key in this series as well.
After getting two power-play goals in Game One, the Penguins went just 1 of 9 on the power play in Game Two. In Game Four, they ended up 1 of 4.
Niskanen and Johansen each have two power-play goals, tying them with Vladimir Tarasenko of St. Louis for the most in the playoffs heading into Thursday night’s games. For the series, the Jackets have 4 power-play goals in 20 opportunities; the Penguins have 4 in 21.
That’s how close it’s been as Game Five awaits.